As a fashion designer, Vikram Phadnis has dressed some of the biggest names in the glamour world, including many leading Bollywood personalities. Now he’s all set to release his first directorial, a Marathi film titled Hrudayantar. The debutant director speaks to Komal Sharma about how his dream came true and why he thought he could pull it off
Your life has taken an interesting turn, from being a designer to a writer, director and producer. How did this happen?
I think it’s a natural progression. For the last couple of years, I have been wanting to direct a film. It all began with me being a technician as a costume designer in the industry for 25 years, and I wanted to move on and do something new while still not giving up fashion. Fashion is my bread and butter and something that I have loved doing for more than two decades. I started writing my script and I realised I could direct a film. I just wanted to give it a try. Then, one thing led to another and finally our film will be releasing soon.
Apart from directing the film, you have also written it. How did the idea of Hrudayantar come to you? And what made you think this story should have been made into a film?
I didn’t want to do a film on fashion or anything that is related to what I am currently doing and that is why I chose a subject that was totally different. I wanted to do an emotional drama and I started to write the film that way.
How did you train yourself to direct. Did you attend any workshops?
No, I hired great technicians; I had Shaimak Davar and Farah Khan, who have choreographed the songs. I had a complete Hindi film technical crew from Red Chillies Entertainment to Anup Dev, who did the sound recording. I also had a great casting head, Monika Dharankar. So I had a great team of assistants. I think I hired a great crew. So an outstanding team helped me do this film.
Since this is your first film, what was your thought process in the initial days, from working on the story line to selecting the star cast?
We did a lot of brainstorming. I wrote the story then I did the screenplay along with Saurabh Bhave. The music is by Praful Karlekar and lyrics by Mandar Cholkar. We brainstormed a lot and everyone was allowed to share their ideas. Finally, the screenplay was locked and we edited the entire film on paper. We didn’t necessarily edit in the studio and we are showing the audience what we actually shot. We didn’t shoot extraordinarily and we didn’t shoot less, so the pre-production was superb. I miss it so much today because there was so much hard work and we interacted so much. All that stopped so suddenly.
Why didn’t you choose to make a Hindi film?
I wrote the film in Hindi first but Hindi was just not taking off. I am Maharashtrian and I thought why not make a Marathi film and subtitle it? Let’s see, the next film I do could be a Marathi film or a Hindi film. I believe if something is not happening, one shouldn’t chase it. That is why I am doing this in Marathi and I am happy I did. I have a great star cast. The film has shaped up just the way I hoped it would. So language was not an issue.
What were the challenges you faced as a director and as a co-producer?
I don’t think there were challenges but it was a roller-coaster ride. There were tough times and easy times but there was nothing we couldn’t overcome together. Shooting, like pre-production, was extremely smooth.
What is the film all about?
Hrudayantar is an emotional drama and it’s about the journey of a family. It is about how important it is to celebrate the one life we have. And how it is important to have a change of heart to make a relationship stronger.
Who are the characters in your film?
Shekar Joshi is a hotelier and Samaira Joshi is the creative head of an advertisement agency and they have two lovely daughters. One of the daughters is into dance and another is a sportsperson. Sonali Khare plays a counsellor and Amit Khedekar plays a doctor. The story is about a journey of this family and its extended family.
How happy are you as a director?
I am very happy. I think I should have done this a couple of years ago. Now with fashion and me wanting to do one film a year, I think it’s going to be lovely and I am enjoying the process. I definitely want to do it again.
Like filmmaking, designing too is a creative process. Did your designing skills come in handy while making this film?
The fashion in this film is very simple and there is nothing over-the-top. I was not concentrating on fashion in this movie because I didn’t want to deviate from the fact that I was directing the film. I have kept the fashion aspect very simple in the film.
We see Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and many other actors have shown their support towards your project. So we will see you directing some of your Bollywood friend in future?
I have still not started writing my next. But who doesn’t want to work with such legends. I have been really lucky to have such a massive support from them. Don’t know what will happen next but the idea is to do another film soon.
Now that the film is about to release, what are your expectations?
I have a lot of expectations. I hope people understand that I have tried to tell a story, a story that will touch everyone’s hearts. It’s a very heartwarming film. I am expecting a good response, simply because the film’s music and its trailer have received a great response.